In cases where two drivers in an accident both did something wrong that contributed to the accident, each driver is assigned some of the blame. This is done as a percentage. For instance, one driver may be given 25 percent of the blame while the other driver is given 75 percent of the blame. In Missouri, because we use a “pure” form of comparative negligence. Each driver would be entitled to recover their damages minus their percentage of the blame.
For instance, let’s say one driver who was given 75 percent of the blame for an accident suffers $50,000 in total damages. That driver would be entitled to recover $12,500, or $50,000 – (75 percent of $50,000). Their damages are reduced by their amount of fault.
If the other driver, however, only has $10,000 in damages and they are considered 25 percent at fault, then they would be able to recover $10,000 – (25 percent of $10,000) or $7,500. The two figures then offset one another meaning that the driver who is 75 percent responsible for the accident gets a total award of $12,500 – $7,500 or $5,000.
Now, $5,000 is only 10 percent of their overall damages and represents a significant monetary loss of $45,000. So one way to increase that number is to reduce the percentage of liability that the driver who has been assigned 75 percent of the fault has.
Disputing Partial Fault in a Car Accident
In serious car accidents, police will come to the scene and may give out tickets to drivers who they believe caused the accident. They will then put their thoughts in a police report which becomes one of the main official documents that concern your case.
While police may have good reason to believe one driver caused the accident over another, their main concern is making sure everyone is safe and clearing the scene so that traffic can continue. In other words, they often get it wrong. You shouldn’t think that a ticket or a discouraging police report is cause not to pursue a case against a driver who you believe is at fault for an accident.
Part of this is not admitting guilt for the ticket. If you admit guilt, the other driver’s insurance company will almost definitely use it against you regardless of what happened. This will reduce your potential award as it becomes more likely that your fault can be established in the case.
If you talk to the insurance company at all before getting a Kansas City car accident lawyer (which we don’t advise) don’t admit guilt and contest any statements they make concerning your potential blame.
Talk to a Kansas City Car Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and the insurance company wants to pin some of the blame on you or make you out to be the primary at-fault party, the attorneys at Krause and Kinsman can help you fight those claims. Call us today for more information.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.